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Glossary of Astrological Terms



AFFLICTED: Unfavorable planetary aspect: Squares, Oppositions and Quincunxes.

AIR SIGNS: Signs possessing the qualities of the element Air: intellect, thought process etc. The Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.

ANERETIC DEGREE: The final degree of a sign (29th). Also refered to as the degree of fate.

ANGLES: The lines of the chart wheel which lie at 0 degrees (Ascendent), 90 degrees (I.C.), 180 degrees (Descendent), and 270 degrees (M.C.). These major points represent Cardinal Qualities.

AQUARIAN AGE: 2000 year period influenced by the qualities of Aquarius starting approximately at the new millenium.

ARC: An angular measurement between two celestial planets or points. Any part of a circle, measured around it's circumference.

ASCENDANT: The Rising Sign. The degree at which the Zodiac rests over the horizon of the birthplace at the time of birth. The Ascendant represents the persona and image to the world.

ASPECT: The angular distance, calculated in specific number of degrees of the chart wheel, between two celestial points or planets. It shows the nature of the relationship between planets.



BIRTHCHART: A diagram showing the exact positioning of the planets in the signs at the moment of birth.


COMBUST: When a planet is very near the Sun in the birthchart. It is theorized that the planet loses some of its force.

CARDINAL SIGNS: Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Represents initiative.

COMPOSITE CHART: Two individual charts which are merged to form one. It shows the relationship between two individuals.

CONFIGURATION: An Aspect which has three or more planets.

CONJUNCTION: Two or more planets sitting next to each other. A conjunction gives great strength to the energies of the interacting planets.

CUSP: A line dividing the twelve houses. The midway point between two signs.

CYCLE: The time it takes a planet or point to make one complete revolution in the heavens.


DECANATE: The division of each sign into three equal parts of 10 degrees each.

DECLINATION: The distance of a planet north or south of the celestial equater

DEGREE: 1/360 of a circle.

DESCENDANT: The opposite point from the Ascendant: cusp of the 7th house. Describes one's interaction with another.


EARTH SIGNS: Signs belonging to the element Earth (practical etc.). Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.

ELEMENTS: Four-fold division of the Zodiac: Fire, Earth, Air, Water. Signs of the same element share qualities of that element.

EPHEMERIS: Astrological almanac listing Zodiacal positions of the planets and other Astronomical data.

EQUATOR: The imaginary line drawn around the Earth, dividing it into the northern and southern hemispheres. When this line is extended into space, it is called the celestial equator.

EQUINOX: A time of equal day and equal night occuring twice a year at the beginning of Spring and Autumn.


FEMININE SIGNS: The Earth and Water signs. Feminine signs are refered to as negative and indicate passive and receptive energy.

FIRE SIGNS: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Signs with the qualities of the element of Fire (Willfull, energetic, etc.)

FIXED SIGNS: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Fixed signs are stubborn.


GEOCENTRIC: The convention that the Earth, rather than the Sun is at the center of the Solar System.

GRAND CROSS: Configuration in which four planets form mutual squares. It creates a lot of tension.

GRAND TRINE: When three planets meet each other to form a triangle. This is a harmonious configuration.

GREAT YEAR: The period when the pole makes a complete circle.


HARD ASPECT: Squares, oppositions and quincunxes. Aspects which create tension and/or friction.

HOUSES: The celestial sphere as a 360 degree circle is divided into twelve sections called houses. They are numbered counterclockwise from the Ascendant (9:00 position). Each house represents certain aspects of life.


I.C.(Immum Coeli): One of the four major angles of a birth chart. It is the beginning of the fourth house and is a very personal point in a chart.


Joys: Places in the zodiac where planets, being harmoniously located, have the most beneficial effect. Rarely used in modern astrology. According to William Lilly, the joys of the planets are: Saturn joy in Libra; Jupiter joy in Sagittarius; Mars joy in Scorpio; Sun joy in Leo; Venus joy in Taurus; Mercury joy in Virgo; Moon joy in Cancer.

Judicial Astrology
Relates to the forecasting of principal events which will befall a country and public conditions which will prevail.

Juno: The queen of the gods. An asteroid seen by modern astrologers as significant.

Jupiter: The king of the gods, a planet symbolising matters to do with the law, religion, authority, the higher mind and so on. Ruler of Sagittarius and Pisces. Exalted in Cancer. The greater benefic.

Jyotish: Indian (Vedic) astrology. This is based on the sidereal zodiac, as opposed to the tropical zodiac favoured by most contemporary Western Astrology.


Key Words: Words that encapsulate the meaning of an astrological factor. For example, Cancer: "I feel".

Kepler: Johann Kepler, born in Weil, Wurtemburg, Germany on December 27, 1571 was a famous astrologer who became the father of modern astronomy.

Ketu: Name for the Dragon's Tail, in Indian Astrology.

Kite: A Grand Trine with one of the planets making an opposition to a fourth planet which in turn makes sextile aspects to the two others of the Grand Trine.


Latitude (Celestial): Measurement of distance of any planet or star north or south of the ecliptic. The Sun never has any latitude.

Latitude (Terrestrial): Degree of distance of any place north or south of the Earth's equator.

Leo: This regal sign is the fifth sign of the zodiac. Ruled by the Sun. The exaltation of Pluto. Leo's symbol is the lion.

Libra: The seventh sign of the zodiac, Libra is the sign most concerned with relationships. Cardinal and Airy. Ruled by Venus. The exaltation of Saturn. Libra's symbol is the scales, or balance

Lights: Sun and Moon.

Lilith: The "Black Moon", a supposed invisible satellite of the Earth, also an energy vortex in the Sun-Moon-Earth system. There is as well an asteroid called Lilith. Lilith, the Dark Goddess, is a Hebrew name for Caput Algol, the Demon Star. In mythology, Lilith was the first wife of Adam, formed like him from the earth, rather than from his rib, like Eve.

Logarithms: Tables by which when a planet's motion is known its position at a given time may be readily calculated.

Long Ascension
Signs of long ascension take longer to ascend than others. Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius. Long and short ascension are reversed in the southern hemisphere.

Longitude (Celestial): Measurement along the ecliptic in terms of signs and degrees from the point of the vernal equinox (0° Aries). The longitude of a planet in the 126th degree of the zodiac is 6° Leo.

Longitude (Terrestrial): Distance in degrees, minutes and seconds of any place east or west of Greenwich, England. Also measured in hours, minutes and seconds.

Luna: The Moon. More about the Moon .

Lunar Mansions: 27 traditional sectors (nakshatras) of the zodiac, where the Moon spends her time on a day by day basis. Each mansion, of 13° 20' duration, has a specific influence, especially if Moon, Sun, Ascendant, or Ruling Planet are placed there. This system is mainly used today in Indian (Vedic) astrology. There are also ancient Chinese, Arabic and Renaissance systems, using 28 lunar mansions of 12° 51' 26" of arc.

Lunar Node: See Nodes

Lunation: A lunar period, measured from one place in the zodiac until the Moon's return thereto. For example, the time taken by the Moon from one conjunction with the Sun until the next, 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds, is called a synodical lunation. Lunation is also used to describe different aspects of the Moon to the Sun, thus accounting for her phases. The New Moon is also called a Lunation. A chart made for the moment the Moon conjoins the Sun is called a Lunation Chart.


M.C.(Medium Coeli): One of four major points in the birth chart and is at the top af the chart (beginning of the tenth house. It represents public life and reputation.

MASCULINE SIGNS: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius. Masculine signs are assertive and self-assured.

MERIDIAN: The Meridian at Greenwich. The point from which time and space is measured. It divides longtitude into east and west.

MIDPOINTS: The midpoint between two planets or angles and sometimes house cusps.

MUTABLE SIGNS: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Flexible nature.


NATAL: Birth. The natal chart refers to a chart for the time of birth.

NODES: The north and south nodes of the moon are those points on the ecliptic where the moon crosses it going either north or south.


OPPOSITION: An opposition is when planets are exactly opposite each other in the chart wheel. Oppositions create stress.

ORB: The space in the chart wheel measured in degrees, between planets and points, by which an aspect may vary from exactness and still remain effective.


POLARITY: Opposite signs effect each other: each sign has a relationship with its partner across the Zodiac.

PROGRESSION: A method of advancing the planets and points of a natal chart to a particular time after birth.


QUALITIES: Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable.

QUINCUNX (INCONJUNCT): An arc of 150 degrees. An uneasy aspect with karmic lessons.

QUINTILE: An aspect of 72 degrees. An easy aspect representing accomplishments.


RETROGRADE: When a planet appears to be traveling backwards from Earth's perspective. The energy of a retrograde planet is less assertive.

RULERSHIP: Different signs are "ruled" by different planets and their influences can be affected by this fact.


SIDEREAL TIME: Time reckoned by the stars rather than by the Sun.

SOLSTICE: When the Sun reaches its maximum declination. This occurs twice a year, at the beginning of Summer and Winter.

STELLIUM: A group of planets gathered in one area of the Zodiac; sometimes, a multiple conjunction.

SUN-SIGN ASTROLOGY: As seen in newspaper Astrology columns, predictions for the day, month or year ahead on the basis of Solar Charts.

SYNASTRY: Comparing natal charts to find strengths and weaknesses in the area of compatability.


TRANSIT: A planet's movement through a sign or house.


Under the Sun's Beams: Within 17 degrees of the Sun. Any planet here is weakened, though more so if combust (within 8 degrees 30 minutes). Not so important in natal astrology.

Uranian Planets: Planets postulated to lie beyond the orbit of Pluto.

Uranus: Formerly known as Herschel, after its discoverer, this planet was not discovered until 1781. It has been deemed to rule Aquarius. It stands for unexpected disruptions and sudden catastrophes. Esoterically, it calls forth the genius in the character of the native.


VOID OF COURSE: A term describing a planet that does not make a major aspect before changing signs. It is primarily wit respect to the Moon.


Water Element: One of the four astrological elements. A feminine element, it stands for emotion, feeling, matters to do with intuition and so on. The other elements are, Fire, Air and Earth.

Water Signs:Cancer (cardinal), Scorpio (fixed), Pisces (mutable)


There are no terms in Astrology beginning with X, save some medical expressions used in Medical Astrology.


Yod: A powerful aspect.

Youth (phase of): The period of life from birth up to the first Saturn Return .


ZODIAC: From the Greek 'zodiakos', meaning 'circle of animals'. A band in the heavens divided into twelve signs, each containing 30 degrees of longtitude and acting as a barometer for various human traits.


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